THE STORY BEHIND THIS RECORD
Peter Molobye is 10 years old. He and his brother Laban (aged 13) have been playing the piano every minute of their spare time for 3 years. Now Laban's rendering of Schubert's Impromptu comes to you on this record. Along with 150 other pupils, Peter and Laban come to Union Artists to learn music theory, jazz improvisation, piano, drums, guitar, saxophone and drama.
Over the years Union Artists has put on over 50 productions, many of which have been smash hits. 'King Kong' played to over 100,000 people in South Africa before going to London with its full cast. 'Sponono' went to New York. Recently the songs and jazz of 'Thembeni' (also on this record) provided the highlight of the Lesotho Independence Celebrations. Union Artists itself is a non-profit association, kept going almost entirely by subscriptions, of which the profit on the sale of this record forms a small part. All the artists gave their services free and we hope you enjoy 'Something out of Africa' and the wealth of talent it enshrines.
SOMETHING OUT OF AFRICA
Impromptu by Schubert
Laban is 13, and has been a student of the African Music and Drama School, run by Union Artists, for 3 years. This soft rendering of Schubert's Impromptu is his first recording.
Tula Baba — traditional
A beautiful Zulu lulaby to rock the child to sleep. Vinah Bendile was a domestic servant until she joined Union Artists with the cast of 'King Kong'. From there, she went to London and New York. She is now a well known model in Johannesburg, as well as having made a full time career as a dancer.
Shaweni — Shangaan traditional
An age-old song from the Shangaan people of the Northern Transvaal, admonishes the young to have respect for their elders. Sung by BETTY MTHOMBENI and the chorus of 'THEMBENI'. the latest Union Artists show which has toured South Africa and played at Lesotho Independence.
THE MALOMBO JAZZ MEN
The Malombo Jazzmen, a small group of three won the 1964 National Jazz Festival with a brilliant new kind of music which perhaps the first truly African jazz. By combining traditional drums with electric guitar and flute, and crossing the soulful music of the Venda with the best of jazz, they have made a completely new
contribution to the jazz world.
Proceeds from the sale of this record will go to training people like Peter and Laban Molobye, and other non-European artists in South Africa.
The liner notes on this record make reference to Lesotho's recent independence celebrations which took place in October of 1966. Given this I would say that this EP came out in December of 1966.
A fascinating compilation for a Christmas benefit, the EP includes Abie's Mood by the Malombo Jazz Men. Remarkably this is a different take ofAbbey's Mood which appears on the Malompo Jazz LP by the Malombo Jazz Makers from about the same time.
The original line-up of the Malombo Jazz Men included Phillip Tabane, Abbey Cindi and Julian Bahula. The group would soon split in 1966.
After the break-up, Tabane worked with Gabriel 'Mabi' Thobejane and continued recording under the name Malombo Jazzmen and then later simplified it to just Malombo.
Bahula and Cindi teamed up with Lucky Ranku and formed the Malombo Jazz Makers. On the Malompo Jazz LP, the track Abbey's Mood is composed by Abbey Cindi and the album features the first recordings by the group made without Tabane. It is unclear to me whether the guitar on this track is Tabane or Ranku. The guitar work here seems quite distinct from that of the LP version and the style of playing leads me to speculate that this could be Tabane. The fact that the group's name is consistent with the original 1964 Castle Jazz Festival name, and the track is different from the Malompo Jazz LP version also reaffirms my assumptions. Send me an email if you know that it is Ranku.
Read more about Malombo at 3rd Ear Music—David Mark's fantastic website on South African music.
Thanks to Khaya Records for sending images of the EP.